In a couple of years when NBA fans think back on the 2012 offseason, they will think of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard going to the Los Angeles Lakers. They will think of the Brooklyn Nets taking a big step towards contention by retaining Deron Williams and acquiring Joe Johnson.
In terms of free agency, the names of Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and Jason Kidd will also come to mind when moves are remembered. What's not thought about are the smaller moves that often go the longest way to helping a team win a championship. After all, teams can't win championships with just superstars; they need depth.
That is what the majority of these underrated signings are—moves to supplement a team's already potent offense or defense.
The question is: Will any of these moves lead to a championship?
Jamal Crawford to the Los Angeles Clippers
Two seasons removed from winning the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award, Jamal Crawford goes to a team that will have a much better chance at contending for a championship than his former team. Not bad for a player that once was the longest-tenured player not to have appeared in a playoff game.
Crawford joins a team in LA that boasts the talents of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billups and fellow newcomer Grant Hill. He will help the Clippers press even farther into the elite.
Hasheem Thabeet to the Oklahoma City Thunder
The tallest active player in the NBA at 7'3", Hasheem Thabeet has the potential to be a blocking machine. With the depth the Thunder have at center, it's unknown how much playing time Thabeet will receive, but he could be a huge difference maker on defense if given the chance.
Ramon Sessions to the Charlotte Bobcats
Ramon Sessions' experience with the Los Angeles Lakers will give one of the league's worst teams some added quality. While he only played 23 games with the Lakers, playing with a team of such quality is a good learning experience for anyone.
Jerry Stackhouse to the Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets took a huge step this offseason. After being one of the most disappointing teams over the last couple of years, the move to Brooklyn brings in a new sense of hope for the franchise.
Retaining Deron Williams and acquiring Joe Johnson were the Nets' biggest moves of the offseason, but bringing in the experience of Jerry Stackhouse will also make a difference.
Goran Dragic to the Phoenix Suns
With the loss of Steve Nash, it was a given that the Phoenix Suns would need a new point guard—they found one with a familiar face in Goran Dragic.
After letting him go a season and a half ago, the Suns know what they're getting with Dragic. He's nowhere near the talent of Nash, but he can do the job well enough.
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